Parsley: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on parsley

Petroselinum crispum is a bright green, biennial, plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas. Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2–3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.

common names & nomenclature
The word "parsley" is a merger of the Old English petersilie (which is identical to the contemporary German word for parsley: Petersilie) and the Old French peresil, both of which are derived from Medieval Latin petrosilium which is from the Greek for “rock” or “stone”.

Also known as:
parsley, garden parsley

Parsley, the popular and versatile culinary herb
Parsley: Where in the World
habitat and range for parsley

Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice, and a vegetable.

Parsley: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting parsley

Parsley is a relatively hardy bienniel (annual in colder areas) though it needs some protection from cold. It prefers a sunny location where it receives a bit of shade for part of the day. If the parsley is getting too much sun, it will go pale.

Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained soil.

Growing parsley from seed—germination is slow, taking as long as four to six weeks, and it often is difficult because of furanocoumarins in its seed coat. Germination time can be reduced by pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in hot water that is allowed to cool quickly, but be careful not to overdo the heat and cook the seed.

Cut parsley stalks close to the ground, beginning with outside stalks and working your way around. This will encourage new growth. For best flavor, pick early in the day while it is still cool. At the end of the season, you can chop the whole plant off at the base. Use fresh for best flavor, or hang to dry for later use.

Store dried parsley in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Parsley: The Rest of the Story
parsley history, folklore, literature & more

parsley power
Parsley is one of the most common herbs you’ll find. It’s used in many culinary dishes as a garnish and flavoring.

Parsley actually is native to the Mediterranean region of the world. However, it’s grown widely all over the globe.

You can use parsley in the form of parsley powder, loose flakes, and tea. It can also be used fresh in order to create a juice. Parsley is one of the most common additives to today’s food because of its beautiful color and distinctive flavor. 

Parsley is a small, bright green biennial that reaches 12 inches the first year and up to 3 feet the second year, when it flowers. Parsley has a thick carrot like taproot and juicy stems terminating in feathery, deeply divided, curly or flat leaves, depending on the variety. Its tiny yellow-green flowers develop on the umbrella like canopy (umbels) characteristic of the umbelliferae.

Although it's a biennial, parsley should be cultivated as an annual. The seeds are slow to germinate, often requiring up to six weeks. Sow any time from early spring to autumn. Parsley can be sown indoors and transplanted, but most authorities recommend outdoor planting with 1/4 inch of soil cover.

Parsley grows best in moist, sandy, will-drained loam with a neutral pH, thin seedlings to 8-inch spacing. Late season planting is fine. The herb-even seedlings-usually survives one or two frosts.

Parsley leaves may be harvested once plants have reached about eight inches. Fruits are harvested when they appear full size and gray-brown. Dig the roots during the autumn of the first year or the spring of the second.

Unless you are an experienced field botanist, do not pick wild parsley. It closely resembles three potentially lethal plants: water hemlock, poison parsley (also known as poison hemlock), and fool's parsley (dog parsley, small hemlock).

Looks like Hemlock!